Petition on against 'Bully' movie R rating

Some want rating to be PG-13 so more can see it

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new movie with a powerful message about the dangers of bullying contains a certain offensive word mentioned six times, and it has received an R rating as a result. But some are petitioning that rating.

The documentary "Bully" is promoted as a real-life look at families who have struggled with bullying. Some wonder if that message will even make it to the young people who need to see it the most.

The movie's producers say it's a film all parents and their children should see.

According to the movie's website, the film documents the stories of real students who have been bullied, as well as the stories of two students who committed suicide.

Also on the website is a link to an online petition to give the movie a PG-13 rating so that more people can see it.

"If it's going to increase the education, then I think it's definitely something that our kids should see," said parent Victor Jennings.

"Parents, if you think your kids don't hear the curse words, it's not true. It's there all the time," said parent George Bodniowycz.

"The problems are more extreme than we've had before," said Dr. Betty Bennett, of the Educator Preparation Institute at the University of North Florida.

Bennett said she's encouraged to know someone has made a film about bullying because she believes the problem is getting worse, especially through social media.

"It's not just like a playground bullying, which is a lot of times where it starts, but we're having people that go up to the point of murdering other people because they do feel persecuted," Bennett said.

The movie studio behind the documentary appealed the Motion Picture Association of America's R rating, but they didn't get the number of votes needed. A California representative has also gone as far to begin a petition among other lawmakers.

So far, the petition on the movie's website has garnered well more than a 250,000 signatures.

"Parents should take their kids no matter what," Bodniowycz said.

"If I watched the movie and felt that my kids could handle it, then I would approve of them watching it," Jennings said.

"Bully" is set to open March 30 in a limited release in New York and Los Angeles. It's set for a larger release in mid-April.

There's no word yet if Jacksonville theaters will show the film.

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